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We are sad to report the death of Rev. Martin Lovering, who made many friends in the village since moving here from Abingdon 10 years ago to 'retire' with his wife, Jen.

St Agatha's Church was packed for Martin's funeral, which was taken by Rev. Janice Chilton. The following is the text of her funeral tribute:

'Many of the things about Martin that we knew and loved have been spoken and written about in the last few days. But here are just a few words from family and friends.

'Martin was brought up in Enfield, North London where he and his parents went to a Free Church. He became a member and later a leader of the Crusader Bible Class.

'In his first year at London University Martin met Jen, who was still at school at the time. They were married in 1961 when Martin was working in the Petro-Chemical industry having trained in chemical and mechanical engineering. Their sons Peter and Jeremy were born in the mid sixties.

'Martin’s work was the reason the family moved to Abingdon where they became members of Christ Church, helping there in various ways. Some years after the move Martin was made redundant. Out of this very difficult time came an opportunity to discover his true vocation. With the encouragement of friends Martin began training for the Ministry in the Church of England – though he used to say he was not ‘holy’ enough it was clear to others that being a vicar entirely suited him. He was known for ‘vicaring about’, chatting, joking, encouraging, helping and questioning.

'All attributes that continued during his retirement here in Brightwell. During the last twelve years Martin has joined the bowls and art clubs, been on the Village Hall committee, helped with various projects in the church and the wider community. He loved serving behind the counter of the village stores. He made many friends.

'Martin’s family were of immeasurable importance to him; he loved and spent a lot of time with his sons. He was very proud of them. His grandchildren were a delight to him: he loved the hours spent with them painting, going on outings, constructing obstacle courses and just chatting.

'To me Martin was the ultimate example of the Good Shepherd. Practical and prayerful, his faith was worked out in his daily life. He was always ready to serve others, to provide support in a quiet way and to build confidence. Jesus walked by his side just as surely as he walked with those disciples on the road to Emmaus. God was there for Martin in good times and bad.

'If it were not for Martin I would not be standing here today and having the privilege of taking this service for him. His quiet guidance and confidence building as I was thinking about ordained ministry and his and Jen’s endless support during my training were invaluable and never to be forgotten. That is not to say that we didn’t have our differences, often provoked by one of Martin’s searching questions but done in such a way that it made me think and there was never any bad feeling between us.

'Martin was also a very practical person, he loved working with wood. You will have walked down the ramp that he built when you entered this church, he made the notice boards that go out every Wednesday for our community coffee morning and he made some wonderful furniture. Many of us relied on Martin’s practical side; one friend commented “If you asked for an opinion – you got a drawing! On the other hand, if you need a drawing and guidance Martin invariably made the thing!”

'Martin also had an eye for a bargain and was a hoarder, I know Jen, who tends to be neat and tidy found this difficult at times!! But it’s some thing I definitely had in common with him. You just never know when things might come in useful and if you do have a tidy up and get rid of stuff, you’re sure to need it the next week.

'In all the activities that Martin was involved with he brought, wisdom, wit and an eye for detail. His quirky sense of humour often kept you guessing, as one friend wrote “you never quite knew what he would say in response to a conversation.” Martin will be missed by all those who knew him.

'Someone once said to me, after a funeral, “Well it’s OK for you, you’re a Christian” meaning the death shouldn’t upset me. Actually, it’s not OK for me, or anyone else who believes, yes we know that our loved one is safe in God’s keeping, but that doesn’t lessen the pain of parting, the gaps left in our lives or answer the unanswered questions, the “Why’s” and “What if’s” that occur after someone had died.

'The difference is that, for us, God is there, in those bad times, constantly available as he was and is for Martin.'

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